Sunday, December 5, 2010

Worshiping Without God-It's Still Fun

Over the past couple of weeks I have been going through my I-Tunes library. It’s amazing to see that no matter how many songs one owns, I’m at almost 6,000, at the end of the day you end up listening to the same set of songs over and over again. For me it’s between 500 or 600 hundred songs that are always on my I-Pod. There is of course turn over. The 500 or 600 hundred songs I listen to the most now are certainly the not the same as they once were, obviously in part because I've collected new songs but also because my tastes have changed. Still at the end of the day well over 80 to 90 percent of the songs I own sit idle in my library rarely even looked at. So I've started to go back to listen to some of my old favorite songs again and I found out something that kind of surprised me, I still love most of them. This might not sound odd but the surprise comes from the fact that most of them, nearly all of them are Christian worship songs, some more overtly then others. So myself having forsaken belief in God or as I prefer to say having discovered God’s nonexistence and the freedom that comes with that discovery I am a bit surprised to find how much I still enjoy singing worship songs, especially the more transparent ones.

Many nights recently I have just been sitting around singing old songs from my past praising God for his goodness, thanking Jesus for his sacrifice and praying to God for his help and forgiveness. I’ve found that the music is still a part of who I am and I can appreciate it for the feelings it provides me despite the lack of literal truth behind the words. I don’t believe God is good or that Jesus died for me or had any need to or that I require God’s forgiveness or help because I simply do not believe in that God and yet I still enjoy singing about those things. So it would seem, a little to my surprise that the act of worship does not require an object of worship to be of value.

A large part of it I believe goes to the fact that when I sing those songs it reminds me of the community I once belonged to when I had a much larger network of friends who shared similar beliefs, interests and concerns as me. In a way as silly as it sounds when I sing these songs it feels like I have friends again. One of the hardest things about leaving the church behind has been the loss of credibility I have suffered with those people who used to be my friends. Before when I still shared the label Christian with these people my ideas even if they were different or outright unorthodox were still acknowledged but once the label was taken away so too seemed to be my right to be listened to because I could no longer be trusted. I mean if I could be wrong about something as important as the existence of God how could anything else I said have any value? But when I sing these songs that sense of rejection is forgotten for a time and I remember the past when I was still sharing my life with other people who were interested in it even if it was only because my beliefs matched theirs at the time. One thing I can never take away from the church is that it does tend to be a great place for community still it saddens me to see how many shortcomings people are willing to overlook (theologically, doctrinally, philosophically, morally, politically, etc) as long as they have friends.

I’m sure some will read this and think “ah ha” clearly God is real and is still moving inside of me I just don’t realize it or I’m not willing to recognize it whereas I would simply turn the tables and point to the fact that the warmth and comfort they gain from worshiping God simply fulfills the same psychological needs and produces the same good feelings for them as it does for me despite them not realizing there is no real object (God) there that is listening to them.

So for now I will continue to sing my worship songs to a nonexistent being for the pleasure they bring, the memories they stir and the simple fact that it’s still fun.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; 
Praise Him, all creatures here below; 
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host; 
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.


  1. So I'm curious- how about a Zach Self Portrait 2010? :)

  2. By self portrait you mean songs? And I'm curious who this is? I don't recognize the ID "Wenikio". thanks

  3. interesting zach. love you bro!

  4. thanks for the interest Carly and of course for the love. love you back and hope all is well